George Michael gave away millions to charity and worked to keep it private

We may have thought that this year couldn’t get any worse, but then we heard that George Michael had passed away on Christmas Day. We’ve lost so many music legends this year and George’s passing hit many of us hard. Tributes and sad shocked responses have been flooding social media from celebrities and people who knew the late great performer. One thing we learned about George that hasn’t been widely public until now is the fact that he’s been quietly generous and charitable for years. It’s bittersweet that we’re learning this after he passed, and it speaks to the kind of person he was. In fact George gave very large donations to charity and worked hard to ensure he received no publicity for them whatsoever.

Since Michael’s death, charities and fans have revealed that the iconic singer was also a dedicated philanthropist — making large donations, and working hard to keep them out of the public eye.

Among the charities he quietly aided, The Associated Press reports, were Macmillan Cancer Support, Childline, and the London-based HIV-awareness organization Terrence Higgins Trust.

Michael donated the royalties from “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me,” his 1991 duet with Elton John, to the Trust, the AP reports. Michael kept his repeated donations to the Trust private.

The proceeds from the 1996 song “Jesus to a Child” went to Childline, the wire service says. The founder of the organization told the AP that Michael had donated millions of dollars over the years, and was “determined” that no one outside the charity know how much he had given.

And on Twitter, news of more donations — big and small — have been spilling out. DJ Mick Brown said when he would run a charity drive at Easter, George would call in every year, at the same time, with a 100,000-pound donation (more than $122,000 today; it would have been worth even more at previous exchange rates).

[From NPR]

Here are some tweets from people who had personal knowledge of George’s philanthropy. He gave money to a woman on Deal or No Deal who was in need of IVF treatments and she’s only just finding out now who her benefactor was:

Ok now I’m getting teary eyed. There are so many sweet stories of George giving his time and money to people in need that the tweets read like a schmaltzy Christmas Hallmark movie. Here’s a rich and famous pop star whom the public knows has addiction issues but doesn’t realize also works tirelessly to help others. George Michael gave people a lot more than memorable music.

George was with his long term boyfriend, celebrity hairstylist Fadi Fawaz, at the time he passed. Fadi tweeted a message about finding George in bed “peacefully” and added “I will never stop missing you.” George’s former partner, Kenny Goss, has also issued a message about his passing and said that he’s “heartbroken.” We don’t know how George passed, but his death is not being treated as suspicious and his manager has said that George died of heart failure. RIP George Michael, we will miss you.

Tributes outside George Michael's London home

Tributes outside George Michael's London home


Photos credit: WENN, FameFlynet and Pacific Coast News

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56 Responses to “George Michael gave away millions to charity and worked to keep it private”

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  1. V4Real says:

    I have so many of his songs on my playlist. So much great music. Don’t let the sun go down on me is one of my favorite duets ever.
    R.I.P. George, you will be missed.

  2. Kri says:

    Oh my heart.I I know that this soul is somewhere really beautiful.

  3. Frida_K says:

    Ok, this is making me cry.

    May this sweet and beautiful soul rest in peace, and if his spirit could somehow hear us all now, please allow me to add my voice to the chorus of those who say thank you, George Michael, for all that you did and gave and brought to others during your time on this earth.

  4. ria says:

    The world was blessed to be allowed to have ‘known’ George Michael.

    Not know him in Persona in most Cases, but know a small part of his loving Heart through his Songs and the numerous ways in which he helped others.

    I always felt sorry that his life was so troubled and quite a lot people were cruel to him after he came out officially, but i am glad that he still lived and loved without a care about the vitriol others were speaking.

    Thank you for so many great Songs and beeing so faboulus.


    • Sixer says:

      Yes. The filthy British tabloids are now hailing him as a legend after decades of spiteful homophobic reporting. The way he refused to bow to them and apologise for himself was heroic, regardless of any of his own personal problems.

      • frisbee says:

        Yes ITA, he was heroic and honest and he never caved into them, not once which is heroic in itself, our tabloids are just vile – there is no other word to describe them and their litany of lies and misdirection.

      • Sixer says:

        He never, ever caved. I loved that about him. Looking back now, you realise the pressure to be the “acceptable gay” even as recently as the 90s. Not George.

      • frisbee says:

        And because of that he made life a lot easier for other in the LGBT community to say “this is it, I am what I am and eff you if you don’t like it,” that was an enormous contribution to make.

      • Sixer says:

        Bloody hell. I’m crying again now. Plus, this lot staying with me have just put on Pride and I’m bound to snivel even more. I think I’d better get some wine so that I can pretend it’s the alcohol making me weepy.

      • lightpurple says:

        I think I will watch that one today as well. Love that movie.

  5. catwoman says:

    What a beautiful soul lost too soon. RIP George.

  6. Sixer says:

    He also paid £1.5m for John Lennon’s piano so that it could continue to be accessible to the public in the Beatles museum, held a free concert exclusively for NHS nurses, played a miners benefit gig during the strike, added Andrew Ridgeley as a writing credit to Careless Whisper although it was a song he’d written at 17 so that Ridgeley would never have to worry about money, and paid living expenses for Marc Bolan’s son.

    The list is honestly endless.

    • Christin says:

      He could have received benefit from the publicity, but chose not to do so. That speaks volumes about him as a person.

      I do hope that he was content and could tune out the way the press treated him.

      • frisbee says:

        Yes I agree, a lot of the time you get the feeling celebrities are dishing out the cash and the photo ops because it makes them look good, he was never like that, he did it because he genuinely cared. He was cut out to make music, but the rest of the business, cut throat and selfish – he wasn’t cut out for that at all…

      • Sixer says:

        You guys will like this. It’s a storify of a Twitter user and GM fan educating him on how to use the platform without endlessly promoting your iTunes. The bit where he discovers that people like it when you swear – as all sweary Britishers should really automatically know! – is hilarious.

      • frisbee says:

        At this point You utter c**k pi** ba**ards – I was totally helpless with mirth, thanks for that, that’s one of the funniest things I’ve seen from Twitter in a long time – he was adorable…but then so is Rachel

      • Christin says:

        How funny to see his tweeting learning curve. Thanks for the link!

        The reference to tiger blood made me smile as well (brought back a memory of my Dad trying to tell me about it after it was plastered all over the US news). Hard to believe that was nearly six years ago.

    • V says:

      It was Bowie who gave financial support to Marc Bolan’s son (he was good friends with Bolan). Not to take away from GM’s philanthropy, which was wonderful & impressive x

    • Lullah says:

      He was an amazing person, but please get your facts right. Rolan Bolan was supported by the equally wonderful David Bowie, NOT George.

  7. grabbyhands says:

    OMG. Sobbing.

    I had no idea. What a beautiful soul.

  8. BengalCat2000 says:

    His butt looked so good in Faith. 😔

  9. Cannibell says:

    Awww, what a good guy. We should all leave some version of something so good when we move on, but he Left us far too soon. Condolences to his family and friends.

  10. IlsaLund says:

    What a beautiful soul…may he Rest In Peace. Just like Prince and Bowie, he left his music legacy for us to remember him always.

  11. leigh says:

    Taylor Swift would never.

    He was an amazing artist with an amazing heart. I wish he’d gotten one last album out.

    • Vivivoom says:

      nor would angelina jolie and countless other celebroties who use charity for self promotion. but as long as they help, that is all that metters.

    • Vivivoom says:

      Neither would amgelina jolie and countless other celebrities who use charitiy for self promotion. Taylor isnt the only one. But as long as they help, thats all that matters.

  12. Prairiegirl says:

    Everybody go download “Freedom! 90” and reeeeeally listen to the lyrics. They’re illuminating. RIP.

  13. BJ says:

    I used to read about his generous deeeds on fan sites years ago.That’s what I liked about him and Prince they both supported charities but wanted to keep it private.I am so happy he rekindled his friendship with his ex boyfriend Kenny Goss, weeks before he died.I will always remember when George was on Oprah and Kenny was with him.I believe they were together about 13 years.
    I am so over 2016.Four more days.

    • Tourmaline says:

      I just watched that Oprah interview on You Tube yesterday.

      It seems like George kept people who were close to him in his life for decades. He was still close to Kenny even though he was with Fadi, he was close to his family, and his Wham people (reported that he was planning to spend Boxing Day with the fam of Shirlie Holliman Kemp who was one of the backup singers in Wham).

      • Christin says:

        Was he still with the last boyfriend? I am likely mistaken, but thought I read that they may have broken up earlier this year.

        One of the tabloids claimed they were scheduled to have lunch on Christmas, and that’s when he was found. My assumption was that they were probably on good terms, but possibly not in a relationship (especially since he’d reached out to Kenny).

        Some claim he was reclusive, but to me it sounds like he was a loyal person who kept in touch with a solid circle of family and close friends. I just hope he had his final wishes properly spelled out. Without a spouse or children, things can become messy (especially when money is involved).

      • Tourmaline says:

        @Christin Good point, I’m not sure that he was really with Fadi I was just assuming based on Fadi finding him—but maybe they were just friends and no longer in a relationship.

        I agree with you about the reclusiveness it seems like he was actually in close touch with his friends and family up to the end. Shirlie Kemp tweeted something about how she just saw him happy and laughing a week ago. DM has a story about all his godchildren who are likely to be remembered in his will so hopefully there are signs this was not a Prince situation and he did have a will to safeguard his final wishes.

      • Christin says:

        Please know I wasn’t disputing it, but have been confused by some of the media stories. It does sound like he had people in his life and not entirely reclusive as early reports implied. I just hope he was at peace and not depressed.

  14. teacakes says:

    I’m crying right now, he was such a lovely soul.

    At least I know what to do in his honour now – come payday, a few cheques are getting written even if I can never hope to match his generosity.

  15. minx says:

    So sorry he is gone.

  16. Lucy says:

    Yesterday I was thinking about how these men (George, Bowie, Prince) have gone down in history and pop culture, and what they represent for so many people, beyond the music they have created. They were bound to become legends.

  17. Donna says:

    Still mourning his death.

  18. Sadezilla says:

    Love this. We need more kind, genuine people like GM in this world. Thank you, George, and go in peace.

  19. Tourmaline says:

    Until his death I never realized how very YOUNG he was not just during the Wham era but during the Faith and Listen Without Prejudice albums. In the U.S., the bulk of his music chart success was all before he turned 30 in 1993! (I know he had more chart success with his subsequent music in UK and Europe).

    It really seems he was knocked for a heartbreaking loop not just due to his battle with Sony Records in the 90s, but also his battles with grief, depression, substance use etc. that he was very open about. I’m sure it was not the career he had planned when he used steely determination to reinvent himself in Wham and then as a solo artist, but I admire how candid he was about his struggles.

    • Christin says:

      This surprised me as well. I thought he was at least three years older, simply because of how long he’d been massively famous.

      To think he was just 24 when Faith was released (I vividly remember when I purchased it in December 1987 — my friends were crazy for him and his music at that time).

  20. lucy2 says:

    I loved a lot of his music, from when I was a kid through today. And wow, it sounds like he had such a kind heart and touched many people’s lives. He has left us far too soon.

  21. QQ says:

    IDK If its cause I adore his music or cause im super overwhelmed stressed out and sh*t but this one has walloped me. I really cried about this man when my Bff told me and im not that way, he was all like : “I KNOW i had to tell you and do this together”

    This story just has me scrunching my face again

    • Lasagnawasgreat says:

      @QQ: don’t see you on here as often (or maybe it’s me not here, often). I usually scroll to look for your and Fingerbread’s comments before reading a post

  22. smcollins says:

    Beautiful inside & out

  23. Nicole says:

    All my childhood memories are tied up with 80’s and 90’s music. Just listening to Wham! and his other solo songs, I can pinpoint some of the happiest times with my mom, before the chaos started. I can remember, sitting in my mom’s old cutlass, with the car cig lighter in my hands, trying to keep warm (because we were poor and the heater didn’t work) and hearing Last Christmas. I can remember freaking out because I thought I broke my mom’s car by pulling up the emergency brake, and not knowing how to put it down, and knowing I was in trouble because I also had the keys in the ignition and Careless Whisper was on. So many memories tied with some of the greatest songs. Rest in peace George Michael, thank you.

  24. Andrea says:

    R.I.P. Michael

    The best report in a long time !

  25. OTHER RENEE says:

    This is the first celebrity death I’ve shed tears over. RIP sweet soul.

  26. HK9 says:

    Love him. Miss him.

  27. Jaded says:

    A true example of “sometimes the clothes do not make the man”. His kind soul did.

  28. Jennifer Jones says:

    Dammit 🙁

  29. The Other Katherine says:

    When I think about losing George Michael, Leonard Cohen, and so many other quality human beings this year, and then think about some of the cockroaches who are left, I have kind of a “HULK SMASH” moment. Except for watching my long-awaited son grow and develop into an adorable toddler, 2016 has been, seriously, THE WORST. 4 more days, y’all.

  30. Marmalazed says:

    I worked on music videos in the early 2000s as a production assistant, often for the talent on shoot days. Of all the musicians, he was the sweetest, the most professional, and the least demanding. After the job wrapped, he sent me a gift from Barney’s with a nice, signed card. Ironically, his video had the largest budget of any other I worked on; the smaller the budget, the bigger the pain in the ass the celebrities were. I have been a big fan ever since and always tell people that story when he comes up to spread good “gossip” about him. What a great example of someone who was thoughtful and caring in spite of their own troubles.

  31. Choo says:

    I totally understand why he insisted on anonymous donations and acts of kindness but it seems such a shame that it’s only now people are truly finding out how generous he was and it’s too late to thank him for it.
    I know that he didn’t want/need thanks but still… 🙁